If GCSEs were still going ahead, today I would have had my first official GCSE. If they were still going ahead, I would have published this article at the end my exams. However, as that’s not happening, no time like the present!
Since I chose my GCSE options, I have had many times where I have thought to myself damn, I wish I had known this sooner! Of course, there’s no point in dwelling on the endless possibilities of life – that will just get you nowhere. Instead, I’m here to give anyone who’s about to choose their GCSE subjects some advice that I wish I knew. I have compiled a list of things that my teachers didn’t tell me until it was too late or just didn’t tell me whatsoever. I hope that these pointers will help you on your way to achieving your true potential. 🙂
1) Start revising ASAP The sooner you start, the easier it will be. The topic will be stored in your head for longer and it’ll be way less work for you in the long run. It’s a perfect way of working out your weaknesses for each subject. The absolute latest you should start revising is the end of year 11.
2) Try not to miss class! Remember, the teachers are there to help you. They want you to get the highest grades possible so you have to at least try and apply yourself in each and every lesson. Of course, you’re bound to have off days and that’s completely fine, just rememer to take notes and focus as much as you can. Asking questions will also be really helpful so you don’t get stuck when revising at home.
3) Push out of your comfort zone and crack the whip! The best way to actually revise is to get into a mindset where you actually want to do well and will go to lengths to achive that. As soon as you accept the fact that doing well in your GCSEs is impossible without putting in the time and effort, you’re halfway there. Be strict on yourself, make sure you actually revise at least once a week. In the long run you’ll be so much better off for it.
4) There are no “easy pass” subjects. Contrary to what everyone says, every subject you choose will have an aspect which is very tricky. As long as you choose options for yourself, not for anyone else, you’ll be fine and hopefully won’t regret your options as much.
5) Use notes, flashcards or posters. I’m a visual person so I have to physically write something after seeing it to retain the information. I find posters work best, but depending on what style you learn best from, you can differ your revision style. I go into loads more detail about revision in my blog article https://totallytatiana.com/2019/11/30/totally-tatis-top-ten-revision-tips/ which you should check out after this. I have lots of websites and ideas which helped me pass my mock exams.
6) Take mocks seriously! This was definitely a regret for lots of my friends. You never know what’s going to happen before the final exams (proof right here). It’s also a perfect chance for you to find out how you would score in the real thing. Areas of weakness become apparent and you can tailor your revision timetable accordingly.
7) Listen to lo-fi hip-hop. I find it near impossible to work in complete silence. I get distracted way too easily but when I listen to music I find myself recreating the music video, pretending to be Lauren in the Kinky Boots Soundtrack, or dramatically becoming Anne Bolyen in Six the Musical. So, what do I do? I listen to a music genre called Lo-fi hip-hop. It’s instrumental music designed to help you relax and focus (and not unleash your inner Taylor Swift). I love it because it’s so much better than sitting in silence but as it’s lyricless, I can focus more on what I’m reading instead of the song.
8) Focus on you, not boys! I wish I had done that. I spent way too much time that could have been spent revising chasing after jerks who just wanted one thing. I spent so long crying about the he-said she-said that I didn’t focus on my future without these idots! Going into sixth form all I’m doing is getting myself a future, if I find a boo along the way then they can come along for the ride.
9) Plan in the exam! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been running out of time in an English exam so I quickly bullet point my answers. That stuff saves my sorry sleepy ass. Once I was running out of time on an English paper so I bullet pointed my plan for a 40 mark question and started a kick-ass introduction. How many marks did I get? 21 Marks. It’s so much better than just accepting defeat when you have five minuites left. Every mark counts!
10) Keep up to date with coursework! I took two GCSEs which relied quite heavily on coursework: Performing Arts and Technology. I cannot stress enough that the best way to pass these classes is by listening to the deadlines and completing as much work as you can. It gives you so much free time at the end to edit and improve your work and it’s a lot less stressful! Trust me, future you will be eternally grateful!
Finally, take each day as it comes. You’re only human and at the end of the day you can only try your hardest. If you’re having a bad day, that’s completely okay and understandable. People won’t think any less of you after you get your results as long as you give it your all in that exam hall. It will all be worth it and GCSEs are merely a stepping stone to the next bigger, better part of your life.
Good luck, you’ve got this 🙂